The Government intends to have a common examination for under-graduate programmes across the country from 2013 and prepare a common merit list as part of efforts to improve quality of education, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said.
He also told the Lok Sabha on Friday that the government would crack down on fake universities, the practice of taking capitation fee, misleading advertisements and other malpractices regarding which a bill is being brought.
Replying to a debate on a bill to amend the National Institutes of Technology Act, Sibal said the government is keen on improving the quality of education and in this regard world class universities would be set up in the country.
The National Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2010, which proposes structural changes in such educational establishments and bringing in its ambit the five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs), was passed by a voice vote later.Talking about the initiatives taken by government to improve the quality of education, Sibal said there was an effort to provide equal opportunities to both rural and urban students.
He said his attempt was to have common entrance test at under-graduate level from 2013 and then prepare an all-India merit list.
As per the merit, candidates would qualify for prestigious technical institutes, the minister said, adding an expert committee was examining the matter.
To deal with various malpractices like misleading advertisements for technical institutes through which students are fooled, transaction of money “under the table” and charging of capitation fees, Sibal said the government was preparing Education Malpractices Bill which would be brought to Parliament soon.
He said the government wants to check mushrooming of such institutes where the father becomes the Chancellor and son the Vice-chancellor.
“If you do not bring professionalism, how can you run an institute,” he asked.
The Minister asked the state governments to be careful while providing the No Objection Certificates to set up technical educational institute, claiming the Central government has not given any NOC to any institute so far.
Pointing out that education was a State subject, he said states have been asked to bring reforms in this sector with a promise that Centre would provide necessary help.
He said government was trying to create an environment in which the private sector can investment enough to set up quality higher education institutes.
“We must expand the environment to allow private sector to set up more quality institutes,” he said.
Sibal said India must enhance its academic standard to get its “rightful place in the comity of nations”.
He said his Ministry was trying to connect all academic institutes through a dedicated network called National Knowledge Network so that the students can interact with experts of different fields even by sitting in any part of the country.
The amendment Bill provides for strengthening the networking of NITs and the IISERs by giving representation in their Board of Governors to the IIT and also to bring the appointment procedure of the Deputy Director of National Institutes of Technology in line with that of IITs.
When Sibal moved the bill for consideration, BJP member Devji Patel raised a point of order, pointing out that quorum was lacking in the House and this was not right since a government legislation was being taken up.
P C Chacko, who was in the Chair, noted that the House had decided to skip lunch said normally during proceedings at that time, quorum is not taken into consideration.
However, Patel insisted, prompting Chacko to call for quorum.
Soon, a number of ministers, including Pranab Mukherjee and Pawan Kumar Bansal, besides Congress members were seen rushing into the House.
Moving the bill for consideration, Sibal said governance of the 20 NITs need to be streamlined and restructured, which includes changes in the composition of the Board of Governors.
He said that in the 21st century, there was a need for upgrading the quality of educational institutions so that their students are able to compete at international level.
Contending that the students needed to be given necessary infrastructure to realise their dreams, he said the government has done a lot to expand education and there was need to do more for improving quality.
Initiating the debate, Janardhan Swamy (BJP) favoured increased funding of educational institutes to enable them to meet international standards.